Impact Factor - A note from the Publisher, June 2012

In response to issues raised about our comprehensive review articles in the field of cell transplantation, the publishers have issued the following statement:

The intent of our reviews highlights the scholarly work assessments of the recent cutting edge discoveries or trends within stem cell research and regenerative medicine.  We wish to assure you that we are taking measures to maintain the high publication standards of “Cell Transplantation” as well as be a leader in analyzing publication trends in cell therapy. 

The series of reviews represents scholarly work published in Cell Transplantation and other journals, comparing trends in the field of Regenerative Medicine and/or Stem Cells, capturing the recent discoveries in these fields. The reviews highlight emerging trends and the cutting edge technology available in the field of regenerative medicine, as well as provide geopolitical analysis. The increased prevalence of stem cell research and their progression from characterization studies through to transplantation, elucidation of methodology and ultimately clinical application is highlighted within these reviews.  

The reviews provide a single location trend-analysis summary of the journal’s (or a scientific society’s) published work.  Recognizing the need for a fast reference work summarizing the current trend in cell therapy in a journal that embodies this theme, a review was deemed a logical endeavor to serve this goal. Having all the references within a single article provides the reader with a single convenient source of the dataset of Cell Transplantation references.

The decision to publish in other multi-disciplinary open access journals, was intended to reach out to a larger audience, both in terms of general scientific readership and in the wider dissemination of the scope of the journal.  The articles were submitted via the normal peer-review process for each journal and therefore underwent rigorous peer-review before acceptance.

We recognize that the scientific community largely focuses on the impact factor, despite the transparent category of “self-cites” that also appears in the ISI impact factor citation and the other highly visible ISI metrics that show the sources of the citations from other journals.  To this end, and after consultation with Thomson Reuters, we have taken necessary steps to be even more obvious about the influence of these trend analyses on the journal’s impact factor. We have modified the instruction to authors to include a section where we discuss the use of rankings and point out the scientific community’s overreliance on a single metric. Interestingly, a number of organizations including the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee (1), European Association of Science Editors (2), International Mathematical Union (3), and the originator of the IF, Eugene Garfield (4), have highlighted that too much focus may have been applied to the value of the IF alone and a journal’s contribution to the field should be viewed across many metrics and qualitative values, available from a variety of bibliometric sources. Marie E. McVeigh, of Thomson Reuters ”Journal Citation Reports,” which generates the IF, has also stated that "The impact factor has gone from being a measure of a journal's citation influence in the broader literature to a surrogate that assesses the scholarly value of work published in that journal. These misappropriated metrics have been used to assess individual researchers, institutions, and departments" (5).

We understand that Thomson Reuters is developing other measures to help make the perception of potential self-cites more transparent.  For example, a journal H-index would eliminate a number of single cites from recent articles from being taken into account. Interestingly, Google Scholar released a new journal metric, the H5 index in April that would alleviate any influence of these types of highly referenced review articles on journal rankings (6).

Our intended transparency with respect to these reviews is highlighted by the inclusion of editorial board members of the journal Cell Transplantation as authors. In addition the opening paragraphs of the articles themselves point out that the Cell Transplantation reference dataset was the main source utilized in these articles (in conjunction with relevant articles from the publishing journal to place the review in context to the journal’s readers).

We welcome any initiative from JCR to monitor similar reviews, which are a valuable resource to the research community but may influence the journal’s impact factor.  We will work with Thomson Reuters to comply with the parameters of their current metrics.


For further information, please contact Robert Miranda, Cognizant Communication Corporation ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ). 




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